Sunday, April 6, 2008

Where does [the Bible] say the world is flat?

Here is a collection of verses in the Bible that describes the Earth as flat.
I could EASILY go on a tirade into discussion and analysis with this topic and other aspects of astronomy, meteorology, mathematics, etc of the Bible, but I will simply post the main verses that talk about a flat earth there.
There are others, but most of them are repetitive in nature to these.

Isaiah 11:12
And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Revelations 7:1
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

Job 11:9
The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.

Job 28:24
For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;

Job 37:3
He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.

Job 38:4-6
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

Job 38:13
That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?

Jeremiah 16:19
O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.

Daniel 4:11
The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:

Matthew 4:8
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

36 comments:

Victoria said...

Honestly, I don't know much about that, but I know that sometimes people can misunderstand things because sometimes it's hard to clearly translate the Bible (it doesn't mean it's wrong it just means you have to dig deeper.)

I found this website, take a look at it: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c017.html

Brian said...

There aren't any specific verses which specifically say the earth is flat. It just alludes to it a lot. However, this must also be realized: back in the times of the Bible, very few people ever went more than a couple hundred miles from their territory. If you stood up on the mountain top, you think that pretty much is the end of the world because everything in sight is all you would know. There aren't satellites or space craft or astronomical tools which can help guide people otherwise. There weren't sufficient boats to travel between the eastern and western hemispheres. In the Bible, it's not so much the earth was "flat" per say, as just corners of the earth was an explanation for not knowing what was beyond what territory they actually knew.

Quincy said...

it's the Word of God, not the Word of Man. Why would it be divinely inspired to only apply to that time period and not to all time?

there are many people to this day that believe the earth is flat, because of what the Bible says.

Victoria said...

The Bible doesn't say that the world is flat though. Some of the verses that you quoted like some in Job, that when read it context I got a completely different point that the "world being flat."

It doesn't matter what those people believe. They are mistaken when they say the Bible says the world is flat.

Like I said, I'm going to research more on this topic, but here's something to chew on,

"2. The biblical view

In contrast to the widely held ancient belief that the earth was flat, the Bible clearly teaches that it is round. Isaiah 40:22 says, "It is He who sitteth upon the circle of the earth." Job 38:14 says, "It [the earth] is turned like clay to the seal." That is a reference to the small cylinders used in ancient times to put one's seal on a clay document. Those cylinders had sticks through the center, like a rolling pin, and while the clay was still soft, they would be rolled across it, leaving the impression of the seal. The Bible tells us the earth rotates on its axis like a cylinder making a seal."
http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/sg1348.htm

Quincy said...

Let's take ONE verse that very vaguely "describes the earth as round" and ignore the rest that conclude otherwise.
in reality, the verse was taken out of context and if anything, further proves my initial point

Isaiah 40:
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

Point 1: Circle
A circle is a two-dimensional shape, which does not have depth or the third dimension, like a sphere.
The Hebrew word used in scripture in verse 22 is "chuwg".
The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 22:18 for ball is "durw".
If Isaiah 40:22 was referring to the earth as a sphere, it would have described it as a three-dimensional object, not a two-dimensional, FLAT one.

Point 2: Canopy/tent
The verse is referring to a flat surface (earth), that has the heavens over it, like a canopy or tent. If the Bible was referring to the atmosphere or space, it would not be describing it like a covering. (again, implies overhead and not all around.

Point 3: Isaiah 40:28
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
---
The ends of the earth, yet again...

~
What we have here, appears to be the Bible describing the earth as flat, with the heavens overhead. The circle of Earth may be interpreted as a circle of life.
The circle may also be interpreted as the oceans that surround the land. This is why many people at the time thought the ends of the earth were out beyond the oceans, since the water appeared to disappear across the horizon.
Or, perhaps most likely, if one stands upon a hill and looks all around, they see a circle, 360 degrees of sky and land.

Brian said...

"there are many people to this day that believe the earth is flat, because of what the Bible says."

I just need to say this in order to get clarification on this vibe I get from that quoted sentence. I'm not trying to go on attack mode or call you out here, I'm just confused. So my question is... where are you going with this and what point are you trying to make/get at?

Quincy said...

"there are many people to this day that believe the earth is flat, because of what the Bible says."

Some people believe that since the Bible is the Word of God and since it says many times his Word is flawless, perfect and needs to additions or subtractions, that it should be taken literally.

Although a stance that the world is flat is a hard one to justify, but through faith, Christians have had to justify many difficult positions over the years.

the wanderer said...

I don't know that I could add much, and I'm not sure whether this all is already understood, but a lot of these verses are metaphorical in nature, using language of the time. Obviously some people thought the earth was flat, but we know "the four corners of the earth" really just means the whole earth.

One thing about divine inspiration -- I think the concepts and the ideas are divinely inspired, and the message comes through clear. The actual writing, however, was left up to individuals, who each used their own style.

One verse from Job 26:7:
"He stretches out the north over the void, and hangs the earth upon nothing."

That "nothing" is presumably outer space, or gravity.

One other interesting verse that deals with time/space - Luke 17:34-37, which describes the second coming, a specific event. Jesus is saying how there'll be people in bed at night, and people in the field working--how would Jesus know that night and day occur simultaneously? Only if he understood the world was round.

Quincy said...

How do we soon forget that the Bible states MANY times that the Earth is fixed - does not move or rotate.

But, alas, we have a vague verse that "states" that the Earth is round.

If one goes back to Matthew 24:36-41, "The Day and Hour Unknown", it appears that the talk about sleeping and working refers to the fact that no one knows exactly when the return is coming. It might come when we are sleeping, or when we are working, or etc.

--

Going back to early comments in your reply, how do "we know" that the corners of the Earth means the whole Earth?
What about the mountain analogies, in which a tall mountain or tree even, can allow one to see the entire earth if it is tall enough.

There are so many different interpretations, that we can make the Bible say just about anything that we want to.
Every generation believes something different and the Bible is constantly changing.

And for Job 26, I have not fully considered that part, but then what about when the Bible repeatedly says that the Earth is stationary, cannot move and the sun revolves around the Earth?

Brian said...

If one could see the edge of the earth from the tallest mountain or tree... how come there is no description of it? Wouldn't that get at least some quick reference? Over there is the end of the earth... what's over the end?

And by your train of thought... since the Bible is all perfect and flawless in the eyes of some (apparently all Christians) ... then if the earth is flat, whatever happened to slavery? Or public stonings for blasphemy. I never saw anyone get killed by rocks in Rogers Park for taking the Lord's name in vain. If that happened, someone would be in Danbury Courthouse within a week.

Victoria said...

I understand your point, Brian, about how you don't see people getting stoned in danbury court.

But funny, you see innocent people on death row.

Does it make it more humane that we try to kill them as quickly as possible?

What about Hitler, that wasn't written in the Bible... but it's written in some books, so does that mean that in that book they think it's okay?

Just because people did things in the Bible like that it does not mean that the Bible upholds it. The Bible is a historical document as well as a religious one. Whether anyone wants to believe it or not. Look at the Roman documents - are those fables too?

Brian said...

I'm not trying to discredit the Bible, because there are good things you can obtain from it. A lot. However, there are some things which we in society and civilization have moved away from. Such as slavery or capital punishment for relatively minor things like blasphemy.

You just have to look at everything in perspective, context, history, etc...

Just for the record: I'm against the death penalty and wish it would go away. Another debate, another day.

Severe tangent now: We all have a chance in life to redeem ourselves, even one of the guys who was crucified next to Jesus decided to accept Christ while hanging up there. You can always make amends for your actions and ask for repentance, let Jesus take the burden of your sins.

Jason said...

To the ends of the earth is describing places on earth, not a flat earth.

Damion said...

Wow do a little reading the bible does not in any form say the earth is flat or that it does not move or rotate it sez world and earth meaning the land the dirt is In a fixed position check the hebrew translation and if gods word is so perfect why have you needed it to be translated I belive fully in God but am smart enough to look through the words of the time at the meaning behind the words your ignorance of such interpretation is proof you are thinking to much for yourself and listening to what men are telling you based on the book and not enough time talking with God

Greaver said...

Greetings there ^.^
I will counter this easly, don't worry.

1. Isaiah 11:12
4 corners of the earth is still used today in speaches, it simply means north/south/east/west.

2.Revelations 7:1
4 corners again, see above. And remember that in Isaiah it says Circle of the earth, and Isaiahs scripture came out before Revelations, so they would know.

3.Job 11:9
The earth can be measured, maybe not by you or me, but by God. He knows the measure of the earth and of the sea ;)

4.Job 28:24
He looks to the ends of the earth and sees under the whole heaven, again ends of the earth is a figure of speach that he sees everything in the earth even to the smallest corners.

Job 37:3
See above.

Job 38:4-6
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone

The earth is round, but still has north/east/west/south, and its built in a way u cant see inside, to understand its base.

Job 38:13
This is to fool you, it says 'that it' not that 'i' notice this. Why? Well read the verse before and you will see. Many gets fooled that it states that God will shake it, but it doesnt say that ;)

Jeremiah 16:19
And this is exactly happening now?
People come from the ends of the erarth, simply from all over the world, which is happening now!

Daniel 4:11
Read few verses before this and you will understand that Daniel had a dream here. ;)

Matthew 4:8
The 4 evangs are written as a puzzle. Lets read the same vers but in luke 4:5 shall we?
''And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.''

In a moment of time = in a vision/dream. There you go!

Greaver said...

Greetings there ^.^
I will counter this easly, don't worry.

1. Isaiah 11:12
4 corners of the earth is still used today in speaches, it simply means north/south/east/west.

2.Revelations 7:1
4 corners again, see above. And remember that in Isaiah it says Circle of the earth, and Isaiahs scripture came out before Revelations, so they would know.

3.Job 11:9
The earth can be measured, maybe not by you or me, but by God. He knows the measure of the earth and of the sea ;)

4.Job 28:24
He looks to the ends of the earth and sees under the whole heaven, again ends of the earth is a figure of speach that he sees everything in the earth even to the smallest corners.

Job 37:3
See above.

Job 38:4-6
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone

The earth is round, but still has north/east/west/south, and its built in a way u cant see inside, to understand its base.

Job 38:13
This is to fool you, it says 'that it' not that 'i' notice this. Why? Well read the verse before and you will see. Many gets fooled that it states that God will shake it, but it doesnt say that ;)

Jeremiah 16:19
And this is exactly happening now?
People come from the ends of the erarth, simply from all over the world, which is happening now!

Daniel 4:11
Read few verses before this and you will understand that Daniel had a dream here. ;)

Matthew 4:8
The 4 evangs are written as a puzzle. Lets read the same vers but in luke 4:5 shall we?
''And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.''

In a moment of time = in a vision/dream. There you go!

Greaver said...

Greetings there ^.^
I will counter this easly, don't worry.

1. Isaiah 11:12
4 corners of the earth is still used today in speaches, it simply means north/south/east/west.

2.Revelations 7:1
4 corners again, see above. And remember that in Isaiah it says Circle of the earth, and Isaiahs scripture came out before Revelations, so they would know.

3.Job 11:9
The earth can be measured, maybe not by you or me, but by God. He knows the measure of the earth and of the sea ;)

4.Job 28:24
He looks to the ends of the earth and sees under the whole heaven, again ends of the earth is a figure of speach that he sees everything in the earth even to the smallest corners.

Job 37:3
See above.

Job 38:4-6
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone

The earth is round, but still has north/east/west/south, and its built in a way u cant see inside, to understand its base.

Job 38:13
This is to fool you, it says 'that it' not that 'i' notice this. Why? Well read the verse before and you will see. Many gets fooled that it states that God will shake it, but it doesnt say that ;)

Jeremiah 16:19
And this is exactly happening now?
People come from the ends of the erarth, simply from all over the world, which is happening now!

Daniel 4:11
Read few verses before this and you will understand that Daniel had a dream here. ;)

Matthew 4:8
The 4 evangs are written as a puzzle. Lets read the same vers but in luke 4:5 shall we?
''And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.''

In a moment of time = in a vision/dream. There you go!

Greaver said...

So! Did you know that the BIBLE speaks of things that we just found out?!

Lets take a look!
Did you know that in;
Job 38:16 - God here speaks of springs in the sea? And this was discovered 1977 BUT GOD knew this already ofcourse and stated it in Job 38:16. Go google it! ;)

Did you know that.. In Job 38:31
God asks Job if he can loosen the belt of Orion? Or if he can bind pleiades? Guess what? One of them is loose and one of them cant be bound. But God knew this, go figure ;) one is loose and one is not ;)

Job 26:7
Here it says that God hangs the earth upon NOTHING in the unvierse.

Luke 17:31-34
Here you have the day/night cicle.
When Jesus second coming is here, someone will be out working and someone will be in bed at night. All takes place the same moment, somewhere its morning and somewhere its night.

Greaver said...

So! Did you know that the BIBLE speaks of things that we just found out?!

Lets take a look!
Did you know that in;
Job 38:16 - God here speaks of springs in the sea? And this was discovered 1977 BUT GOD knew this already ofcourse and stated it in Job 38:16. Go google it! ;)

Did you know that.. In Job 38:31
God asks Job if he can loosen the belt of Orion? Or if he can bind pleiades? Guess what? One of them is loose and one of them cant be bound. But God knew this, go figure ;) one is loose and one is not ;)

Job 26:7
Here it says that God hangs the earth upon NOTHING in the unvierse.

Luke 17:31-34
Here you have the day/night cicle.
When Jesus second coming is here, someone will be out working and someone will be in bed at night. All takes place the same moment, somewhere its morning and somewhere its night.

Greaver said...

Oh btw Quincy, you are welcome to discuss with me, i have discussed this with so many people, if you dare, i challenge you into this discussion and by USING science i will prove you that everything that exists can't just become from nothing and start to exist. Aka if science is wrong, there is only 1 other answer. ;)
You are welcome to discuss this with me, i challenge you for this. Even live if you wish.

dave said...

Christian logic is a trip; Here is a question, as many have pointed out, if this is the "true word of God," why didn't he mention that the earth was round and help Columbus, Cabot or Magellan out? If he knew it all, he couldn't just once say circle the earth, instead of going to the end of it? Cause we all know that every circle has an end, right?

Reasoning with a Christian is as useless as reasoning with an astrologist! Boy I wish I would have been born a few centuries later when all these primitive minds will be living in the rain forest with the other modern primitives!

dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli Jackson said...

have y'all ever heard of such a thang as a metaphor, my godless friends?

Pete said...

Bro, just because it's the Word of God doesn't mean God literally wrote it. His anointed people wrote a lot of it. And everyone back then thought the world was flat. So what do you expect? God to give them a revelation to fix their writings because some of the things were technically wrong? He would've had to stop them every sentence they wrote. There were too many things that people thought back then that were wrong. No, as long as his ideals and teachings in the Bible were correct, whats the biggie? Pointing out small things that are wrong in the Bible is very pointless. As are people who try to find every little flaw of it... By the way, you have to understand that some of the verses in the English translations of the Bible are terribly off. You'd have to read the original to get the correct information.

Geoff Brown said...

Well im pretty sure that Copernicus and Galileo would have appreciated if the writers had been a little more accurate so they didnt have to suffer for pointing out the inaccuracies.

Patrick said...

Well, it would've been sure if Magellan or Christopher Columbus could've found the edge of the earth, but they all seem to see that they keep landing on island by island by island... Never saw the edge.

Here's why I think the earth is spherical. By looking at the polar shifts is a good evidence of this. When its summer on the northern parts of the earth, such as Alaska, Scandinavian countries, they tend to see the sun 24 hours. In winter, their days are VERY SHORT, and MIGHT be shorter than standard meridian of the equator. Vice versa for Antarctica and PROBABLY southern parts of Argentina. In the equator line, the days are very short (6AM-6PM) and don't experience 24 hour sunny days at all.

The four corners of the earth MIGHT be the markings of the four seasons, such as the 2 solstices and the 2 equinox. Many people here in Sydney Australia came from all the corners or ends of the earth to live here or tour around here. Figure of speech. There are things in the bible that can be taken literally and things that can be taken metaphorically. Don't confuse the two.

Patrick said...

I'd like to add also, if its 12am in America, and its 12pm in Australia, how does flat earth theory fit in this?

Billy Markley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Jetton said...

OK, first of all we still use these terms today and we know the earth is round. The four corners obviously alludes to north, south, east and west just as we would use it today. The ends of the earth are descriptions of distance just as we would use it today. For example, I would go to the ends of the earth for you. I know the earth doesn't have corners but I am saying I would cover the entire planet to find you. Please understand we can take any text and interpret it to suit our beliefs which is the whole point. You can either choose to believe in God or not it's up to you.

David Jetton said...

That's awesome!

David Jetton said...

Unless you die first of course.

David Jetton said...

Or it could mean that if you look at a sphere from far enough away it looks like a flat two dimensional object just as the sun and the moon appear to us. I can describe a lot of things so that a simpler minded person could understand what I'm talking about as most were uneducated then. That's why God's word is a living breathing document, so anyone from the uneducated thousands of years ago to us today and those in the future could all understand it. If the earth is here in 10,000 more years do you honestly think most people would know what a gas engine is or how it worked? There may be a book explaining it or a record of it still around but they may not believe it because it seems unbelievable to them. It may be so simple that they just can't believe it's true or that the description of it is so different than they see it that they just don't believe it or can't explain it. That doesn't make it untrue.

Kevin Hughes said...

None of the verses here say that the earth is flat, are you so blind to the truth youll do anything to avoid it?

Bonita Rose said...

The problem with theists is they use their books as evidence that the information in the book is true. And what happened to the books being the "absolute" word of god? Up for interpretation and the bible changes...thats basically saying it evolves. Arent you all supposed to be creationists? Science is real...evolution is real...these are things that no one can deny. Look heres the deal people used to think the earth was flat. Its not. They used to think everythimg revolves around the earth. It doesnt. Then we discovered other planets and solar systems, other suns, other moons, other galaxies, and the black holes in the middle of all of them waiting to suck everything up. Eternal life? Sure LIFE will prevail. You, will not. You will expire. You will cease to exist. So why spend the little bit of time you have living Iin fear that one day you will be damned to torture if you dont bow down to this merciful deity that has supposedly killed more people than his supposed adversary all because his perfect creation wasnt so perfect. Get off the god train and welcome yourselves to reality.

J said...

The word 'circle' in Isaiah, stems from 'chaga', which means 'to revolve', thus to 'chagag' (to move around in a circle) and by extension 'chuwg' (to complete a circuit, a compass, a circle). Quincy is right, it does NOT mean 'sphere', but it DOES imply circular motion.
However, I think most of the verses he listed can be taken either way, they are more likely to be 'turns of phrase' common to either the writers or the translators of the time. In very much the same way, we refer to the sun or moon 'rising' and 'setting', not because we believe the earth is flat, but because, for all intensive purposes, that is exactly what they appear to do.
I do not see any solid evidence that ancient cultures in general automatically believed the earth to be flat. Historically, that is a convention peculiar to the Dark and early Middle Ages of Europe, and even then, archaic drawings of the geocentric solar system nearly always depict the earth as round. (But humanity has a long way to go before it fully recovers from the foul influence of the Holy Roman Empire. Christmas, for example.) Long before that, the Pythagorians very clearly held the earth was a sphere, a thousand years before Christ, so did the Greeks, and the ancient Chinese had a circle with 365.25 degrees in it. That doesn't sound like the work of people who thought the earth was flat. Further, anybody with a set of working eyes can look at the moon during the 1st or 3rd quarters and see very clearly that it is a sphere, not a disk. That in itself speaks volumes. It's not likely that the ancient astronomers would have ignored such an obvious fact. Then too, one only needs to ascend a reasonably high mountain above the sea or a flat plain to discover that the horizon is curved, not straight. I'd imagine a few people in the old days had the wherewithal to do this once or twice before Copernicus ever came around.
I think we too often fail to give ancient cultures their proper due, for in many ways, they were much more intelligent than we are now, namely in that they didn't have thousands of years of scientific inquiry to base their beliefs on
like we do, and yet they still managed to accomplish feats that we are unable to duplicate today. Even more, they gave us the very foundations that our modern sciences are built on.
We too often make assumptions based on unsupportable fallacy, like the idea that no one in the west knew of the existence of Asia before Marco Polo came along, or no one had ever bothered to sail across the ocean before Columbus.
As someone mentioned, the Bible is not just a religious book, it is an historical one. It's a shame that secular scholars shun it so avidly when the Old Testament is clearly the most detailed, complete and (mostly) accurate collection of pre-Roman writings we now possess.
One Biblical round-earth implication that I would add is David's metaphorical reference (Ps.103.12) to the immeasurable distance between east and west. On a flat earth, that distance would be definite, not infinite, and his metaphor would no longer be valid as such.
I understood the earth to be round from childhood. I was also force-fed the Bible from that same time, and never once, in all the times I have read it, did I ever take its words to imply anything about the earth than what we know now. But then, if I believed the earth to be flat, I don't know of anything in the Bible that would discourage me from that, either.
The same could be said about a great many other things.
Take it with a grain of salt...

Darla Lynne said...

Greaver hit the nail on head. The reference is simply to the cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west.